Tag Archives: feminism

Cui Bono?

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

The lovely and talented Taggles recently sent me a very interesting press release from the ACLU. It seems that a Florida court deprived Samantha Burton, a pregnant woman, of her right to determine her own medical care, and the ACLU is a tad exercised about that fact.

Here is what happened. Ms. Burton went to a Tallahassee hospital to get treatment for a difficult pregnancy. Once she got there, someone (possibly her attending physician) informed the State of Florida that an uppity wimminz in her 25th week of pregnancy might (gasp!) be considering an abortion. The State, horrified at this exercise of free will by a private citizen with scary ladyparts, went to the Circuit Court of Leon County to implore that this travesty of justice be stopped. (snark)

The Court decided that to “protect the interests of her unborn child,” Ms. Burton did not have the right to refuse any medical care that might extend the life of her child. Ms. Burton was ordered to stay in the hospital for the duration of her pregnancy – up to 15 weeks – in order to keep her from doing anything that might harm the child.

According to the ACLU’s amicus (“friend of the Court”) brief, when Ms. Burton sensibly requested to change hospitals:

The court further ordered that “Ms. Burton’s request to change hospitals is denied as such a change is not in the child’s best interest at this time.” (Id. at 3.) The court approved the State’s wholesale control over Ms. Burton’s liberty and medical care during pregnancy on the erroneous legal premise that the “ultimate welfare” of the fetus is the “controlling factor” and was sufficient to override her constitutional rights to liberty, privacy, and autonomy. (Id. at 1.) After at least three days of this state-compelled confinement and management of Ms.Burton’s pregnancy, doctors performed an emergency cesarean section on Ms. Burton and discovered that her fetus had already died in utero. Thereafter, she was released from the hospital. (Appellant’s Ex. E, at 1; Ex. F, at 1.)

The brief continued:

As addressed fully below, first, the court erred as a matter of law by failing to give any real consideration to the liberty and privacy rights of Ms. Burton and instead applying what amounted to a “best interest of the fetus” standard. (emphasis mine) Such an approach turns on its head well-established standards protecting the right of every adult to make private decisions about their own medical care. Second, the court erred in equating the asserted interest in protecting fetal life to the State’s “parens patriae authority to ensure that children receive medical treatment which is necessary for the preservation of their life and health,” (see Appellant’s Ex. D, at 1), and in holding that the interest in fetal life justified confining Ms. Burton to a hospital bed and overriding her right to refuse medical treatment. Finally, applying the correct constitutional analysis, and looking to appropriate medical standards of care, it is evident that the State did not demonstrate the type of compelling interest necessary to justify the extraordinary use of involuntary confinement and forced medical treatment in this case.

I have said before that the fundiegelicals are not pro-life. They are pro-UNBORN life. They consciously and maliciously elevate the potential life of the fetus (which, ironically and sadly in this case, was already dead) over the life of the mother. Why? Because the mother is nothing, an empty vessel. She has no rights and no function except to serve at Man’s Pleasure. The Bible tells us so, somewhere. Where? Don’t bother me with such minutiae. I’m sure Jesus said it right after He said “Homosexuality is a sin” and “Abortion is murder.” A-MEN!

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The Patriarchy and the Love Bomb: A Play in One Speculative Act.

She's Not a Feminist Either

She's Not a Feminist Either

(Note: As always, this play is born of nothing but observation, imagination and speculation. It is purely a work of fiction, although based on some actual events.)

THE SCENE: A conference room somewhere in America. It’s late 2008, and Barack Obama has just been elected. The mood is exuberant.

Sitting around the table are the charter members of the Christian Theocracy wing of the Patriarchy: all white males, of course. We don’t know many of them, but we might recognize JAMES DOBSON, DOUGLAS KMIEC and RICK WARREN among the crowd.

The conference room is decorated in Corporate Middle America, boasting an abundance of the latest in electronic wizardry. The remains of a profusion of fatty, sugary foodstuffs litters the table. The men are all talking idly, full, smug and self-congratulatory.)

DOBSON calls the meeting to order.)

DOBSON: Well, brothers, we did it! Our friend and ally, Barack Obama, has been installed in the White House and  will soon be busily accomplishing our goals. The murdering of helpless babies through contraception, abortion and stem-cell research will go no further under the new President. Faith-based initiatives will be expanded, giving greater power and glory to our cause; and as for the Homosexual Agenda, you can forget all about it. Barack has promised he will not overturn DADT, DOMA or legalize same-sex marriage. In short, my friends, we are sitting pretty!

ALL: Amen!

WARREN: Yes, we are in a great position, brother Dobson; greater than we ever thought possible. Brother Obama has given us control of the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party! Surely his reward in Heaven will be rich indeed. But I do see one small fly in our proverbial ointment: New Feminism.

DOBSON (outraged):  New Feminism? What devilish business is this?

(ALL make the sign of the cross.)

WARREN: Well, our Online Astroturf Committee tells us that there is a big group of women out there who are very angry with all the sexism they saw this past year. Frankly, I think they’re just a bunch of hysterics, but in any case, they call themselves “PUMAs.”

PATRIARCH #4: “PUMAs?” More like cougars, I’ll bet. RRRRowr!!!

(ALL LAUGH. )

WARREN (pointedly): ANYWAY, these PUMAs started off as Clinton supporters who decided they were not going to vote for Barack Obama, for whatever reason. I don’t get what their problem is – we’ve always known the primaries were a sham, or our brother Huckabee would have been the Republican nominee this year! But somehow, the PUMAs thought the Democrats were different. Honest, or something.

KMIEC: Idiots! They should have known that after the past eight years, we wouldn’t let a godless heathen witch like that Clinton creature ascend to the halls of power!

WARREN: Indeed. Well, the OAC has pretty much taken over the PUMAs by this point. Most of their sites are full of our operatives, pushing the idea that Barack Obama is a Marxist who will tax them all to death, take their guns away, and abort their unborn children against their will.

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Dear Pro-Life Community: We Don’t Trust You. That’s Why.

Sorry, Sarah

Sorry, Sarah

At Violet Socks’ place, there is an incredible discussion going on regarding why mainstream feminists trashed Sarah Palin so viciously, and even made up lies about her to justify their hatred. There are about 300 comments in response. I highly recommend that you read it if you have the time.

Make no mistake, soon-to-be-ex-Governor Palin can easily be legitimately criticized on the issues. As a liberal, I don’t agree with her on much. But the amount of manufactured outrages that were passed around, from Trig’s parentage (still going on, at least in Andrew Sullivan’s diseased mind) to the rape kit smear to the banning books smear, all passed on by feminists…it is utterly baffling to Dr. Socks. Why all the hatred and vitriol for this woman? Why couldn’t they just tell the truth about her and have done with it?

Although there was no doubt some elitism involved (her accent! her lack of Ivy leage education! that hair!), to me, the answer is clear, and comes down to one word: Pro-Life.

It is an unfortunate reality that people in the pro-life movement have been the source of a great deal of pain for American women in the past few decades. They are the ones who develop smear campaigns to label us pro-abortion (we are not; no one is!) instead of pro-choice; and of course, there is a whole “abortion is murder” meme that has been extremely successful, even to the point that people in the pro-choice community believe it.

But the name-calling is not the worst of it; not by a long shot.

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Can the LGBT Community Save Feminism?

Help Us, LGBT Community...

Help Us, LGBT Community...

A sudden wave of tolerance is sweeping the country, it would seem. State after state is legalizing gay marriage, and even the monstrous Darth Cheney (whose daughter is gay and in a long-term committed relationship) has recently reiterated his tepid support for it.

As people who read my posts regularly are aware, I could not be MORE in favor of gay marriage. But at the same time, I am wondering:

Is yet another minority group, the LGBT Community, going to get equal rights before the biggest majority group in America – those of us who possess those famously scary ladyparts? And if so, what does that say about women and the feminist movement in general?

Is THIS really the face of feminism?

Or this?

For those in favor of women’s rights, the first 100 days of the Obama administration has been like a honeymoon. We’ve continually been reminded why we fell in love in the first place. Coming off an eight-year abusive relationship (to put it mildly), none of Obama’s kindnesses are lost on us. He seems to be the kind of guy who does what he says he’s going to do, another relief. And his gifts have not just been for the pro-choice movement either. Nearly all of Obama’s actions on reproductive rights to date have focused on preventing the need for abortion, one of his “common ground” issues. And while he’s won no fans in traditional pro-life groups, it’s an approach the majority of pro-life Americans want.

Gag me with a Ginsu, ladies!

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Toxic Meme Alert! Today’s Phrase is: Abortion Rights

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

Abortion rights: the term is everywhere these days. 

Pro-choice organizations use it; anti-choice organizations use it. The phrase seems to have slipped into today’s lexicon without making a splash. But really, what does it mean?

Let me ask you, feminist females who are in the pro-choice camp. Do you want abortion rights? Are you going to go around carrying a sign saying, “My body, my abortion?”

I don’t think so.

I believe that this meme is classic rightwing ratf*cking from the Gingrich school, and to use it is giving the He-Man Woman-Haters’ Club yet another victory in the framing wars.

Here’s how they do it. First, they smear pro-choice activists as “pro-abortion” (yes, this meme is all over anti-choice sites). BZZZZZT! Wrong-o. No woman is pro-abortion. No woman says,”Hooray! I’m getting an abortion today!” No woman goes skipping down the street, deciding between a mani-pedi, lunch with Samantha, Carrie and Charlotte, and an abortion. That idea is pure misogynistic crap. Women are airheads who can’t be trusted to make these decisions, the fundiegelicals imply (or state outright). These godless temptresses think abortion is cool and hip. They don’t want the responsibility of caring for the child they, apparently, created all by themselves out of angel wings and holy water (because of course, men are never blamed or held responsible for an unwanted pregnancy by the fundies).

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The Quest for Equality: Myth and Reality

Male and Female

Male and Female

Violence against women has been on my mind a lot lately. High-profile cases such as Chris Brown’s alleged beating of his girlfriend, Rihanna, and New York State Senator Hiram Montserrate’s alleged assault on his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, not to mention the not-as-well-known uptick in incidences of female genital mutilation in Great Britain, added to the astonishing figure of 130 million living women who have been permanently scarred by this horrifying procedure, plus the fact that one out of every three women has been sexually or physically abused in the course of her life, well…let’s just say I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

True to my Virgoan nature, I have been trying to analyze why this keeps happening to women. Why are statistics like this accepted and acceptable?

My theory is that there are two main factors involved. One is our society’s desire to blame the victim for her situation; a desire which has been newly energized by our Reagan-loving President, Barack Obama. I wrote about this epidemic of victim-blaming some time ago, here. But the second factor is one I haven’t articulated before: the myth of female physical equality.

I understand that feminism historically has striven to balance the two sexes by using many different tactics. One such tactic is to claim that women are equal to men in every single way. Forgive me if I lose my feminist creds here, but I find this idea to be laughable, and perhaps harmful.  Nonetheless, it has taken hold of our imaginations. After all, isn’t it fun to watch a taut and toned, 100-pound Alyssa Milano kick 200-pound demon ass on “Charmed?” (She never even messes up her hair, or gets a scratch on that rock-hard abdomen, or twists her ankle in the five-inch platforms she wears!) But in reality, how likely is it that a woman can actually beat the hell out of a man who is really fighting back? And if she can’t do that, then how can she be equal to a man in every way?

I’ll tell you something. I was a student of karate for a year and a half. When my Shihan told me that in order to advance in the dojo, I needed to join the Friday night fighting class, at which time I’d have to fight large, muscular black belts and possibly break limbs, I looked at him, rolled my eyes, and quit. I know my own limitations.

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No Apologies, No Comparisons: Women First.

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony

Last night, the lovely and talented LadyBoomerNYC informed me that a Ken Burns documentary on Women’s Herstory was showing on PBS. “Not For Ourselves Alone,” the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, is a moving, inspiring and heartbreaking documentary of the two titans of feminism’s 50-year friendship, and of their lifelong struggle for “a little bit of justice”: votes for women. Tragically, Stanton and Anthony both died before their victory was achieved, although they did see their efforts resulting in a steady improvement in the daily lives of women: women were accepted into medical school, entered politics, became more prevalent in the workforce, and even received the vote in four Western states.

What struck me about the documentary was that in so many respects, it was still so relevant to our struggle for justice today. Yes, we women have had the vote since 1920, thanks to the heroic efforts of Stanton, Anthony and their American sisters of all shapes, sizes, colors and social classes; but was that vote not rendered meaningless by the actions of the RBC on May 31, 2008? Or by that sham of a Convention in August, when states and delegates that went for Hillary Clinton in the primaries were called for Barack Obama – and some states were not even heard from in the roll call? And now, the Obama acolytes who rigged the 2008 Democratic primary are going to be in charge of “reforming” the primary process for 2012, perhaps to stop another presidential bid by Hillary Clinton (which other observers besides myself are now thinking may be possible). Once gained, that “little bit of justice” is proving more difficult to hold onto than we thought.

My husband and I were often brought to tears by the unbelievable strength of these two women, and by the sacrifice that Stanton and Anthony committed themselves to in order to achieve their goal.  Afterwards, my husband said something interesting. “It’s like the struggle for civil rights for African Americans,” he said.

I agree that on some level, all struggles for social justice are the same, with the disenfranchised group fighting to be recognized as human beings with the same rights as every other human being.  But the comparison, while true on the surface, upset me on a deeper level. It sounded like he was saying that fighting for women’s rights, for the ERA, for equal pay for equal work, for the 30% Solution, was not good enough to stand on its own.

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